Improve Your Golf Swing Posture

Improve Your Golf Swing Posture

Other videos in the series Swing Basics with Laird Small:

This is a series that we are calling benchmarking the basics.

Important Golf Basic: Posture

One of the basics in your golf swing is your posture. What I would like to do with a model of a spine here is show you how your posture works so that you get a clear idea and you can start to do this every time.

Examining the Spine During a Golf Swing

The spine is known as a stack joint, all the vertebrates are stacked on top of each other. When we look at the spine from the profile there is a slight “S” to it. These are the hip joints down here. What we want to be able to do in the golf swing is bend at the hip joints down here. We want to keep the spine in as straight a position as we possibly can. We are going to push back from our hip joints and the reason we want to be able to do that is when we keep the spine relatively straight it makes it easier for it to turn, so it allows maximum efficiency from our spine. The spine does not do well when we add flexion to it. In other words, when we flex the spine forward and then we are trying to add rotation to it, it just does not work.

Put Your Body in the Proper Golf Swing Position

From a motion perspective every degree that we bend the spine forward, either from the top or the bottom, equals one degree less of rotation that is available to you. If you are trying to get a 90 degree shoulder turn and you bend over 10 degrees you are not going to get there. If you also have your hips tucked under 10 degrees you have lost 20 degrees by adding those two together, so you just will not be able to get there from an athletic motion. That is when we get weird looking golf swings because you put your body in a position where it can not function well.

Example of Proper Golf Posture

Let me show you what it is going to look like in actually doing the correct posture. When you look at it from a profile standpoint here what I am going to do is place my hands on the front of my legs. That is step one. I am going to bend from where my leg would hinge from. The idea here is to place my hands on the front of my legs and I am going to push my hips back so that my hips are behind my heels. I am then going to bend over enough so that my fingertips touch the top of my knees. That is far bent over as I would like you to be. My weight is on my heels now so I am going to let my weight shift to the arch of my foot which is one inch ahead of my ankle joint, and I am going to allow my arms to hang away from my body. My arms are now underneath my chin and in a position where my arms can swing and the golf swing is a swing game. Here it is again. Nice and tall and straight. Push back from my hip joints until my fingertips touch the top of my knee caps. Let my weight go to the arch of my foot. Arms are hanging right underneath my chin. I am in the correct posture for every golf club in my bag.

Posture Stays the Same When Switching Clubs

So here would be my 6-iron and just to show you here I have a driver. It is going to be the same posture. A lot of times when you get a longer club you want to go way out here or change your posture. It should be the same thing. That is posture from a profile perspective. From a face on perspective, as a right handed player, my right hand is lower on the golf club. So as I hinge from the hips I also need to put a little bit of a tilt in my in my spine so that my left hip joint is higher than my right. I am doing that from my pelvic girdle, I am not doing that from my spine. Let me show you what that is going to look like from this point of view. My hands are right in the middle of my body and now I am going to tip my spine from my hip joint a little bit forward and that places my hands slightly forward at address. So my hands are ahead of my belly button but not farther than my left hip joint. That is all in service of my right hand being a little bit lower on the golf club and creating an accommodation to do that. Let's take a look at it with a shot. That came out ok.

Please, get your posture correct. From there wonderful things can happen in your golf swing.

Category: Posture
Sub-Category: Address/Set-Up, Arms, Hands, Shoulder Turn
About the Instructor
Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650

Laird Small is Director of The Pebble Beach Golf Academy and is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and Golf Digest's #23 instructor in the world.


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Balanced Posture for a One Plane Golf Swing The one plane swing requires that you bend from the hips more than the two plane swing set up. This move is counter balanced by your buttocks going back more, thus maintaining your balance on the balls of your feet.
A Simple Technique to Get Rid of Tension in Your Golf Swing Practice your swing by starting at the finish so that you release through impact and complete your swing properly
Master the Golf Swing for a Medium Pitch Shot This is a great shot to practice because it is a mini version of the full swing. Make sure to finish near your front pocket and practice distance control by taking your backswing up to your pocket, chest or shoulder height.